Beit Lehemfestivals and special events

Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem

Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. ”

If you will be travelling through the Bethlehem during Christmas time, then come and celebrate the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, in the little town of Bethlehem.  Pay tribute to this glorious occasion in Christ’s original place of birth in Bethlehem, at the most famous celebration on earth.  Last year’s Christmas celebration alone attracted nearly 100,000 visitors, with the largest turnout in over a decade to this truly international celebration.

Christmas celebrations actually begin on December 24, and take part until the 25, beginning in the Old City of Jerusalem, where a parish continues on to the Mar Elias Greek Monastery.  From there, they drive into Bethlehem, and first stop at the Church of the Nativity, which was built above the grotto in which Christ was born, next to Manger Square.  The next stop is mass, held at the Church of St. Catherine, in Manger Square, next to the Church of Nativity.  It is there that there is a procession with the statue of baby Jesus to the grotto of the Nativity.



You can personally relive the Christmas story by taking part in a spiritual mass, held at midnight on December 24, in the Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem, next to the Church of the Nativity.   On December 25, mass is held in the Church of St. Catherine and also held in the grotto.

There is also a Feast of Shepherds mass held on Christmas day, which takes place in neighboring Beit Sahour in Shepherd’s field, where the Shepherds heard the angels’ announcement of the birth of Christ.  The mass starts at 14:00 in Shepherd’s Field in Beit Sahour, and commences in Manger Square, in Bethlehem. This celebration is meant to commemorate the Shepherd’s journey to Bethlehem in order to honor and announce Christ’s birth.

The experience is an amazing one, with all of Manger Square filled with Christmas lights, banners and festive decorations, with the sound of Christmas carols which can be heard throughout.  Christmas day is filled with Palestinian bands who are dressed up and who parade through the streets playing instruments in celebration.  Manger Square is filled with orchestras and choirs, which sing Christmas tunes and melodies for crowds of thousands, with a 50 ft. tall Christmas tree bathed in lights as a festive Manger Square centerpiece.  There are also numerous street vendors as well as cafes and restaurants open, in case you get hungry and want to sit down for a bite.  Nearly every international newspaper and news source is in Manger Square during this time as well, in order to document the year’s festivities and adding to the overall excitement.

Come to the holy city of Bethlehem in order to celebrate the birth and legacy of Christ, experience mass, Christmas carols and celebrations.  The celebrations are extremely international in nature, and Bethlehem’s Manger Square is an incredibly welcoming place for  tourists.

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